The Athletic Reporter
September 12, 2005 Sports News the Way You Want It. Completely Made Up. Issue 127
NHL Addresses Financial Woes By Adding 12 Expansion Teams
Originally posted 4/8/2003

Commissioner Bettman shows how many hours of sleep he's lost over the NHL's financial problems
NEW YORK - National Hockey League commissioner Gary Bettman announced this week that the league, which has been plagued with financial woes, has solved them by adding 12 more expansion teams for the 2004 season. "We're charging each team $75 million in expansion fees," Bettman said. "I know most of our problems are due to overexpansion in the first place, but there's no way this plan can possibly fail."

The league has added nine teams since 1991, but has had four franchises relocate and two declare bankruptcy in the meantime. Bettman hopes, though, that the league will flourish with the addition next year of the Houston Blasters, the San Diego Suns, the Kansas City Blades, the Baltimore Ice Crabs, the Cleveland Ice Barons, the Milwaukee Ice Cows, the New Orleans Ice Cajuns, the Indianapolis Ice Hoosiers, the Portland Ice Whales, the Seattle Ice Fishers, the Salt Lake Ice Lakers and the Orlando Burn.

Some observers were skeptical of the NHL's strategy for turning things around. "People just aren't watching hockey, and in this day and age you need that TV money to stay viable," said Brian Gantz, president of Gantz Sports and Media. "And obviously the fact that the league has no salary cap leads to player salaries spiraling out of control, and with not much money coming in that's where you get into trouble. I really don't think adding 12 more teams will help."

Bettman said that the Stanley Cup playoffs will, as of next season, include all 42 NHL teams, with the top five teams in each conference receiving a first-round bye. "Won't that be fun?" Bettman asked.

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